Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Second round of solo albums

Second round of solo albums
While this round was very commercially successful, it was not as critically acclaimed as the first. The second round of solo albums from the Clansmen saw second efforts from the four members who had already released albums as well as debuts from all the remaining members except Masta Killa. In the space of two years, The RZA's ''[[Bobby Digital In Stereo]]'', Method Man's ''[[Tical 2000: Judgement Day]]'' and ''[[Blackout!]]'' (with [[Redman (rapper)|Redman]]), GZA's ''[[Beneath the Surface]]'', Ol' Dirty Bastard's ''[[Nigga Please]]'', U-God's ''[[Golden Arms Redemption]]'', Raekwon's ''[[Immobilarity]]'', Ghostface Killah's ''[[Supreme Clientele]]'' and Inspectah Deck's ''[[Uncontrolled Substance]]'' were all released (seven of them being released in the space of seven months between June 1999 and January 2000). The RZA also composed the [[film score|score]] for the film ''[[Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai]]'', directed by [[Jim Jarmusch]], while he and other Wu-Tang members contributed music to a companion "music inspired by the film" album. Wu-Tang branded clothing and [[video games]] were marketed as well. The Wu Wear clothing line in particular was massively influential on hip hop culture; initially started as merely a way to make money from the demand for [[Counterfeit|bootleg]] Wu-Tang shirts, it evolved into an extensive collection of designer garments. Soon, other hip hop artists were making similar ventures and by the mid 2000s a clothing line was almost a prerequisite for hip hop superstardom, with clothing lines launched by [[Ludacris]], [[Jay-Z]], [[Puff Daddy]], [[Busta Rhymes]], [[Nelly]] and more.

The avalanche of Wu-Tang product between 1997 and 2000 is considered by some critics to have resulted in an oversaturation that was responsible for Wu-Tang's drop in popularity, or at least in critical regard, during that time.Reviews such as ''[[Melody Maker]]'''s writeup on Ghostface Killah's ''Supreme Clientele'' in January 2000 which began "Another month, another Wu-Tang side project" revealed critics' exhaustion at the Clan's prodigious output. The overall reception for the second round of Clan member solo albums was decidedly mixed if largely positive, and they did not live up to their pre-''...Forever'' forebears critically; however, the Wu was selling more albums than ever.

Occasional albums would still receive critical acclaim (Ghostface Killah's ''Supreme Clientele'' for one, which is regarded as one of the best solo efforts from the Clan) while Method Man and ODB remained popular in their own right as solo artists, and Wu-Tang remained as a well known force, but they had seemingly lost the ability to excite the music world in the way they had throughout the mid 90s.

Many fans and critics also bemoaned the lack of The RZA's input on the post-''...Forever'' solo albums, which were mostly produced by the Wu-Element producers, other lower-ranking affiliates, or by outside producers such as the [[Trackmasters]] or the [[Neptun

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